Victoria, Australia: Steven Unthank's Press Release: JW's Hierarchy Formally Charged Today With Child Abuse

by AndersonsInfo 243 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    Thanks for the clarification, "real" Barbara

    LOL @ Aussie Oz!!! *waves to Vincent and the others*

  • sizemik

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is no longer Steve Unthank v WTB&TS. My understanding is that the prosecutions will proceed as the preserve of the Crown (State) Prosecutor as stated in his press release. Steves role will thus be as a witness making his submissions in court . . . and it will cost him nothing further . . .

    Following the filing of the charges, the Registrar of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, acting under direct instruction from the Chief Magistrate, formally referred the case to the Office of Public Prosecutions which is the statutory authority responsible for preparing and conducting criminal prosecutions in Victoria.
  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    That is how I understand it, too, sizemik. A citizen can collect evidence, pay the fee, and submit it to the court in the hopes that the authorities will take up the case to pursue it further. Almost reminds me of the old "citizen's arrest" concept.

  • yalbmert99

    Nice press release. Hope the Watchtower will be punished. Could take years though...

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I now have major doubts. Faithful and discreet slave as a defendant is a major one. The post says he sued WT-NY and WT-PA - even though one no longer exists. I don't believe in international jurisdiction for a tort. It sets a very dangerous precedent. Australia is a common law state. Individuals cannot prosecute. It goes against the very grain of English and exported English jurisprudence since before the Magna Carta.

    The info is incorrect or some other steps are missing. Maybe this was reported to a criminal authority. There are legal pitfalls that are obvious to any common law lawyer. I'm not saying it is a fraud. Why don't we have an Australia lawyer available.

    If it were a civil law country,I would not say anything. I am curious as to why the penalty units are calculated for not round sums.

    I have concerns which I hope are explainable.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    The post says he sued WT-NY and WT-PA - even though one no longer exists.

    Not true. They both still exist.

    As for an individual prosecuting the case, it has been explained in this and in other threads on this subject. Victoria allows individuals to collect evidence and pay some sort of court-costs fee for the privilege of introducing a criminal case to the court. It is much like bringing a lawsuit in the USA except it works for criminal charges, too, in that part of OZ. If the evidence seems credible, the authorities take over the case and may or may not retain the guy who brought the case as a sort of advisor as the case progresses.

    The Faithful and Discreet Slave was also explained in the various links posted in this thread. The purpose of those charges is to expose the FDS for what it is - or more accurately, what it is NOT.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I am a lawyer. Friends are judges. Faithful and discreet slave is only going to piss of the judge.

    This notion of an individual bringing criminal charges is so alien, I'd like to see the statute and the const'l case finding it const'l.

    This complaint is different from any I have ever read. I am not in Australian. Different jurisdictions follow different policies. All I am asking for is the exact language of the statute allowing an individual to bring criminal charges, the religious registration act, and the case from the higest court in Australia affirming the constitutionality of the statute that allows individuals to prosecute criminal cases. The info. would be valuable for any Australian witness. Other common law Witnesses might want to see a template to use for possible Witness liability down the road.

    I constantly read legal notices on this forum that are garbage. Lawyers charging naive people for letters that are worthless in any American jiurisdiction. Letters that are laughable to people in the trade. Yet I am certain the Witnesses believed those letters to be their salvation and paid good money for them. Lexis/Nexis or WestLaw would have the info. The Australian government may have posted the info. on the internet.

    If I want to show my devotion to the Beatles by posting them on a complaint, I'd probably face sanctions. The U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over heaven. Thank goodness. It is goofy.

    The newsarticle did not read as a polished article. If the time were different, I'd call the reporter to ask if he spoke with people. Filing complaints is easy. Surviving summary judgment is difficult. Going to trial is very rare.

  • steve2
    The newsarticle did not read as a polished article. If the time were different, I'd call the reporter to ask if he spoke with people. Filing complaints is easy. Surviving summary judgment is difficult. Going to trial is very rare.

    I won't comment on whether the article is polished or not; however, I can say that press releases often go no further than a quickly read email in the "newsroom". To the best of my search, no major media have run with this story in Australia or New Zealand, although clearly some local ones appear to have featured it. Cynical journalists - who are often the best at their job - receive lots of press releases from individuals who are (intent on) pursuing legal action against assorted organized religions (The Watchtower Society is far from alone in generating multiple press releases by "concerned" or former members).

    To repeat what I had said in a much earlier thread (minus personal comments), the state often wants to avoid a showdown with organizations who do not comply with legislation designed to bring about conformity of procedure. Evidence: The state of Victoria first enacted its legislation on working with children in 2005, giving all organizations until 2008 to comply. Now 4 years following the deadline, a lone individual has the persistence to bring it (potentially) before the state criminial courts - "criminal" in this case is not necessarily grave; it simply means it is not a civil case.

    Be reassured that I am as interested as anyone in seeing the Watchtower Society humbled by its religiously motivated argument of not needing to comply with state legislation. However, as someone who was raised in the religion belieivng what it taught, wishful thinking and believing ain't a substitute for being on firmer ground and facing the evidence.

  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill


    Penalty units rather than specific monetary sums are frequently used in Australian legislation - the Electrical Safety Regulations being just one example of many, and one that I am very familiar with!

    My understanding of this practice is that it allows adjustment for inflation. Otherwise, a specific sum of money that constituted a severe fine ten years ago may not now amount to such a severe penalty.


  • Concerned JW
    Concerned JW

    Can children going to a kingdom hall under the supervision of their parents at all times be classed as allowing them to be looked after by elders? I cannot see this working as a lawsuit for that reason alone. It is stated at Assemblies and kingdom halls that kids are under the supervision of their parents at all times.

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